chapter  6
16 Pages

Building a new city through a new discourse

Street naming revolutions in Budapest
ByEmilia Palonen

This chapter challenges existing research on urban toponymy through a discourse-theoretical reading that explores the discursive and interconnected character of street names. It builds upon the discourse theory of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe to examine street names as discursive nodal points, or guards, and street renaming as an act of changing the guards. The chapter discusses the changing city-text in Budapest from the nineteenth century to the present. The poststructuralist discourse-theoretical perspective indicates how street names are relational and acquire their meanings through associations with neighboring elements and the urban milieux more generally. The chapter explores particular moments of street naming in the political history of Budapest. Researchers are able to transform a seemingly smooth, yet layered, city-text into periodized classifications. Bodnar, for instance, explores the history of street naming in Budapest.